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Looming fare hikes as SGR prepares to resume passenger service

Kenyans might dig deeper to use the Standard Gauge Railway passenger as the train engine resumes its operations on Monday, 13th July – By Gerald Gekara.

This was after the Ministry of Transport outlined specific measures that will be followed in ensuring that the Coronavirus pandemic is contained despite lifting movement restrictions.

The Madaraka Express passenger service will now be forced to carry half its passenger load in order to meet the social distancing guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.

The passenger train engine normally pushes multiple unit passenger coaches with a capacity of 960 passengers, operating at an average speed of 120km/h on the line.

However, it will be forced to carry half its capacity at 600 passengers, complete with an empty isolation coach, if there will be any passenger who exhibits symptoms of Covid-19 while en route.

The resumption of service will see a train leaving Nairobi for Mombasa at 8.00 am and return to the capital from 1.25 pm for arrival at 6.40 pm.

In his briefing, CS James Macharia announced that there were no plans to hike the train fees, dictating that passengers will be at the mercy of the forces of demand and supply.

“Increase in passenger fare on Madaraka Express train is an operational matter that will be determined by the operator. We will, however, give special preference to passengers who had booked tickets before the suspension of services when we resume operations,” said CS Macharia.

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Currently, the SGR service charges Sh1,000 for economy class and Sh3,000 for first-class tickets between Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.

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